Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden recently recognized one of its most dedicated, impassioned supporters by renaming a popular Garden destination in his honor. On Thursday, May 12, The William H. Williamson III Orchid Conservatory was dedicated among its namesake, his family, community members and Garden leaders.
“This honor leaves me speechless,” said William H. Williamson III, also known as “Bill Will” across the Charlotte area. “I began donating time and energy to the Garden decades ago because this place brought me joy. My travels around the globe brought me to many spectacular botanical gardens overflowing with colors and visitors, and I strongly believed that Belmont deserved the same. As our Garden came to fruition, it was a chance for me to contribute what I could to these beautiful, flourishing acres and the breathtaking experience they offer worldwide guests. I’m proud of the progress the Garden has made, including this stunning Orchid Conservatory.”
Williamson has served the Garden in a variety of volunteer capacities since its inception. His commitments include co-chairing the campaign to construct the Orchid Conservatory as well as chairing the Board of Visitors and membership among the Board of Directors. Williamson is a Charlotte native, a U.S. Army veteran, an avid golfer, a husband, a father, a grandfather and a great-grandfather, and retired from a long, successful career in business economics.
Simply called The Orchid Conservatory since its opening in 2008, the striking 8,000-square-foot, five story, glass-paned preserve – now named in Williamson’s honor – is dedicated to a robust display of orchids and tropical plants. Breathtaking features include a waterfall, cocoa tree, showy blooming orchids and seasonal exhibitions. Williamson played an integral role in bringing this stunning Garden asset to life, giving way to this springtime dedication to him.
Said D. Harding Stowe, chairman of the Garden’s Board of Directors, “Bill has poured love into his every endeavor with the Garden. He’s been an admirable example of dedication and support since this blooming attraction was only a dream. There’s no better person, better Garden enthusiast and advocate, for this recognition and we look forward to the William H. Williamson III Orchid Conservatory continuing to blossom in his honor for generations to come.”
Thursday’s dedication event included remarks from Stowe, Williamson and other Garden leadership, an invitation lunch, signage unveiling and tours of the renamed conservatory and the renewed Perennial Garden. Interim Executive Director Art Gallagher also presented Williamson with a commemorative shovel from the first groundbreaking ceremony hosted in August 2005.
Added Williamson about the dedication honor, “Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden holds a big piece of my heart and I’m so privileged to forever be a piece of its beauty now.”